Burlington Narrowly Passes New School Budget

Published 06/03 2014 11:45PM

Updated 06/04 2014 12:02AM

BURLINGTON, Vt. - By just 68 votes, a new, higher Burlington School Budget was passed by voters Tuesday.

3259 people said yes to a new school budget. 3191 said no.

While this might mean the end to this budget fight, fixing the district's money problems is just beginning.

In Burlington Tuesday, a steady stream of people came out to vote on a new 67.4-million dollar school budget.

"I'm a teacher myself so I think it's really important that we support kids. They are our biggest resource and asset," says Christie Beveridge, who supported the budget.

"I was upset because they were proposing more money. I voted no last time because I thought it was too much money," says Steve Gourley, who was against the budget.

On Town Meeting Day, voters had rejected the school budget. Since then money problems at the district surfaced and it led to the resignation of staff including the superintendent.

Supporters of the budget had said it was a big improvement over the March proposal. Opponents said it did not go far enough to curb the district's spending.

"There's a lot of people on both sides of the issue have very strong opinions and I'm happy a lot of people turned out to express those opinions," says Patrick Halladay, chair of the Burlington School Board.

The passed budget still includes big cuts to para-educators, a Spanish program in the elementary school, and to athletics. Halladay says those things won't be enough to solve the district's money woes.

"The situation took several years to create. It's not going to be solved in a single vote, on a single day. This budget, getting a budget passed was just the first step of lots of things we need to do," says Halladay.

Now that the budget has passed, it means someone with a home valued at 200-thousand dollars will see their taxes go up 220 dollars a year.

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